5 Classic Sounding Hardware Synths Under $800 For Pop Music

I’ll be the first to say that software synths have come a long way in the past decade, but there are many benefits that hardware synths can bring to your productions:

  • Changes up your workflow so that you don’t get bored
  • New sounds mean new inspiration
  • Being tactile can lead to a better understanding of synthesis
  • Adds a unique flavor to your tracks (since most everyone else is using software)
  • Classic sound

We put together a quick list of affordable hardware synths with classic sounds that we highly recommend you try out! By affordable we’re going to try and stay under $800. This list is a mix of analog, digital, and hybrid hardware synths. There are many more that aren’t on this list, but we need more blog post ideas for the future so there!

PS – And when you’re done reading this check out our post on Oliver’s studio tour at Pulse Recordings. Their synth collection will make you envious! But, please don’t internalize that envy and do any weird shit.

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Features: Fully analog, mono synth, based off of the classic Moog Taurus 3 pedals, dual oscillator design with Moog filter section.


KORG MS-20 Mini ($449)

Features: Modeled after classic MS-20 synthesizer. 37 keys. Fully analog. Partially modular. Monophonic. Great for leads and bass.


hardware synths under $800


Features: Reissue of the classic 1970’s Arp Odyssey. 37 keys. Monophonic/duophonic. Aggressive and edgy. Added to the reissue is a drive switch. Choose from 3 classic filter designs. Can get the module only version for $200 less.



Features: Inspired by the Juno 106. Step sequencer, 4 voices, great for creating pads, retro leads, and indie pop inspired music. Module only but can purchase separate keyboard dock.



Features: Faithfully models the Roland Jupiter. 4 voices. Dual ribbon sliders. Step sequencer. Module only but can purchase separate keyboard dock.



Features: If you are into 80’s shit then this one is for you. FM synthesis based digital synth made from 1983 to 1989. 16 note polyphonic.



Features: Okay so this one is a bonus! Not a synth, but a wonderful drum machine and fun to have around. This baby faithfully models to roland TR909 drum machine. Step and tap write modes. Ultra compact. Modern connectivity with external gear.



So there you have it! The fact that you could own this entire synth collection for about $3K is crazy. If you love blending classic synth sounds into your modern pop productions then try a few of these out, default on a few car payments, and have a blast!

See any that didn’t make the list? Comment below and tell us how bad we screwed up. 



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Oliver’s Studio Tour Will Make You Want Every Synth Ever


So this is one of my favorite studio tours that I’ve seen on YouTube. Maybe I’m a little bias because one of my buds worked in this building for a couple of years. Regardless, these guys just have killer sounding electronic records. Huge, rich, deep, and clear all come to mind. I was always curious about what the heck Oliver used to make their music and bam! I come across this video. A huge collection of gnarly analog synths. Go figure right? Drip with envy as Oliver takes you through their studio and shows you their synth collection. They also sneak a few tips and tricks in there. The last part about using the iPads is rad!


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